It's not clear yet what the election lineup will be for Largo in March, Indian Rocks Beach candidacies are still open, Belleair Bluffs is already settled as is Belleair Shore, so the focus is in Belleair Beach where startling changes have taken place.
For one, Mayor Mike Kelly is not running for re-election after two terms. Vying for the spot, which will have a different role in the new governmental are Dr. Frank Lombardi, Bert Cutler and Rudy Davis.
Four council seats are open as well with incumbents Lynn Rives and Stan Sofer seeking re-election with Mary Schoonover, Richard Conrath and Ken Lucci also contesting.
It appears at this point that the key issue in Belleair Beach will be whether or not the police department is retained.
Clearly, Cutler, who is currently a councilmember, favors going with the Sheriff's Office for police services because he importuned Sheriff Jim Coats to work up some cost figures. They show that the city can save up to $300,000 a year with the sheriff.
Lombardi, a former member of the City Council and vice mayor, leans that way, too. Both Cutler and Lombardi obviously understand the fiduciary duty of elected officials to save taxpayers' money wherever that is possible.
Rives and Sofer, by virtue of being sitting members of the council, perhaps have a leg up for election success against the others who are newcomers.
Schoonover has been seen videoing meetings of the council going back several months. Conrath is a regular attendee at council meetings and brings a level headed approach to politics.
While the scramble is on in Belleair Beach, across the street in Belleair Shore Mayor John Robertson and Commissioner John Hayes were returned to office unopposed.
Likewise in Belleair Bluffs there will be no election. Mayor Chris Arbutine is running unopposed as is Commissioner Bob Russo. Troy Krotz will get the seat that Hunt Brand is vacating. Brand served as mayor prior to Arbutine as well as commissioner.
Pat Burke's retirement from the Largo City Commission leaves her seat open to a race among, so far, Gigi Arntzen, Mary Black and Joshua Lindsey. Rodney Woods will opposed incumbent Charlie Harper for seat 2. Others who have taken packets out are Barbara Webb, seat 1, and Sean Hunter, no seat specified.
The Largo qualifying date deadline is December 31 so more candidates could enter the fray.
Indian Rocks Beach's qualifying deadline is January 14, so the picture there is still unclear.
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